- DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH STATEMENT BSE TRANSMITTED INTO SHEEP
VIA WHOLE BLOOD
- Responding to the article published in the Lancet today
from the Institute of Animal Health (IAH), a Department of Health spokesperson
- "We welcome the publication of this Department of
Health funded research regarding the transmission of BSE in sheep via whole
blood transfusion. We will ask the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee
(SEAC) to examine this research at their next meeting on September 29th
- "The report shows that BSE can be transmitted via
whole blood transfusion from sheep with preclinical BSE to healthy animals.
However there remains no evidence that CJD or vCJD has ever been transmitted
to humans through blood transfusion or blood products.
- "The research also points out that whole blood is
not used for human blood transfusions in the UK. White cells are now removed
from blood for transfusion (leucodepletion) and all blood products used
in the UK are made from plasma imported from countries where there is no
evidence of vCJD.
- "The Government introduced these precautionary measures
following the expert advice of SEAC to minimise any theoretical risk to
patients on the basis that transmission of vCJD through blood might take
place before clinical symptoms occur. This risk remains theoretical. Government
will continue to seek and act on recommendations from SEAC as more is known
about the disease."
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